Koos Kombuis

The proposed new advertising ban could ruin everything

2013-08-28 13:49
Have you heard about the proposed new legislation on alcohol marketing and consumption? I don’t know about you, but when I read about it in the paper last night, I almost choked in my single tot of KWV brandy.

Are we heading back to the Dark Ages when adults were treated like children by organs of state such as the Censorship Board and by Gereformeerde Calvinist dominee’s dressed in Batman suits? In this day and age, the legislators of the New South Africa want to introduce laws that will make our society almost as restrictive as America during Prohibition?

No matter how I deplore drunk drivers and drunken behaviour, no matter how much sympathy I have towards people for whom alcohol truly constitutes a medical problem – alcoholism is, after all, not a crime but a recognised disease, and we should all respect it as such – I can’t allow the problems caused by, or experienced by them to intrude on my lifestyle, my personal freedom, my self-respect and my sense of individual responsibility.

Being forced to drive a car with 0% alcohol in my bloodstream, for instance, would mean I won’t be able to take my Schweden-Bitter medicine before embarking on a road trip. And I NEED my daily dose of Schweden-Bitter! Even though no-one is quite sure what Schweden-Bitter is for, it is rumoured that the man who first concocted this herbal remedy lived to the ripe old age of one-hundred-and-eleven, when he died in a horse-riding accident.

Was he intoxicated at the time? Probably not. Though Schweden-Bitter contains 40% alcohol, one teaspoon full is enough to keep you in good health. Yet, for me, that miniscule amount of alcohol included in one teaspoon of Schweden-Bitter may, in the future, mean the difference between a safe journey home on a Friday night and a weekend in police cells with hardened criminals. Unthinkable!

Moreover, if the ban on alcohol advertisement goes through, I will lose my Kombi with the logos on the side, the one sponsored by Beyerskloof! Unthinkable!

If the legal age for drinking alcohol is raised to 21, it will also mean I will have to send my children to a university abroad just to allow them the luxury of a normal social life during their formative years.

How, I prithee, will they be able to fall in love, have fun, and start a normal relationship with someone of the opposite – or the same – sex – without the aid of romantic dinners and parties with their friends? How will they sing Intervarsity drinking songs? Unthinkable, unthinkable!

Moreover, if the sale of all liquor is to be stopped on Sundays – as have been proposed by certain government spokesmen – what will happen to our volk’s traditions, such as the inevitable Sunday braai? What if Christmas falls on a Sunday? I simply cannot imagine a Christmas dinner with a stuffed turkey and family members without a bottle of Pongracz sparkling wine. And what about New Year’s Eve? Once again: unthinkable!

It seems to be that the people who are proposing this legislation must be cultural cretins who do not understand our wonderful wine heritage, and who have no real understanding of the true role of alcoholic beverages in a civilised society. I abhor this kind of ignorance. People who cannot appreciate the value of excellent wine, or who cannot discern between responsible enjoyment of alcohol and alcohol abuse are like those idiots who believe all gays are paedophiles, or all blondes are stupid. And that way of thinking, in my humble opinion, is simply backward and primitive.
This proposed legislation should be scrapped by the constitutional court right away, even before it is drafted. The very idea, in fact, should be banned on the grounds of insanity. 

Koos Kombuis’s Afrikaans rendition of the I Ching – entitled “i-TJIENG – ‘n GPS vir Verdwaalde Siele” will be on sale in bookshops some time in September. It is published by Penguin SA. Look out for it!

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